Maya Fleischmann

Author Mohsin Hamid’s haunting performance of his powerful 2007 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, leaves listeners with much to ponder about their own visceral reactions to the story’s balancing act between peace and paranoia, pensiveness and fear.

Changez is the charming, mannered yet disquieting Pakistani narrator of this first-person story. He’s dining with an unnamed American at a cafe in Lahore, Pakistan, and over the course of the evening, Changez acknowledges and sympathizes with the American’s discomfort at being in a foreign setting—and at having Changez for an uninvited dinner guest.

Changez tells the American about how he left Lahore for the promises of the United States, graduated from Princeton University, landed a job at a highly respected firm and began to feel like he belonged to his adopted country. But after 9/11, fueled by xenophobic rhetoric and misunderstanding, many Americans began to question Changez’s identity and loyalty.

Hamid’s narration marries a sense of calm with the possibility of ill will that begins to crescendo over the course of the novel. Is Changez a threat to the American? By wondering this, are we, the listener, responding in an unfairly distrustful and shameful manner? What is the danger, and how are we participating in it? Hamid’s enlightening new recording highlights the lasting relevance of this provocative novel.

Read our interview with Mohsin Hamid on his “one-man play.”

Mohsin Hamid’s enlightening new recording of The Reluctant Fundamentalist highlights the lasting relevance of his provocative 2007 novel.

Bestselling author Rebecca Serle’s stirring novel One Italian Summer (6.5 hours) follows a young woman’s journey of discovery, acceptance and forgiveness. The audiobook is read by “Gilmore Girls” actor Lauren Graham, who brings sincere tenderness to the heartwarming tale.

Katy is shattered after the death of her mother and best friend, Carol, and Graham captures Katy’s numbness and grief through deliberate pacing and a voice that often breaks with emotion. Feeling lost in life and in her marriage, Katy decides to take a pilgrimage of sorts, traveling to Italy’s Amalfi Coast on the trip that her mother had planned to take for years. Katy is shocked when, upon arriving in beautiful Positano, she meets a vibrant woman who seems to be a younger version of Carol. In her moving performance, Graham evokes Katy’s conflicted emotions surrounding her mother and her marriage, drawing readers into the process of rediscovering her most important relationships.

Read our review of the print edition of ‘One Italian Summer.’

Actor Lauren Graham brings sincere tenderness to the audiobook edition of Rebecca Serle’s heartwarming novel One Italian Summer.

The doctor is in the house. With her direct and diverting bedside manner, Dr. Madi Sinha (The White Coat Diaries) gets straight to her thought-provoking points on women and work in her second novel, At Least You Have Your Health, a compassionate portrait of a young doctor trying to make a difference in the lives of those around her.

Thirty-six-year-old Maya Rao juggles her roles as a devoted wife, tireless mother of three children and dedicated junior doctor in Philadelphia General Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department. She endures the hospital administration’s regulations and bureaucracy, an especially difficult task after the rejection of her proposal for a program to help women better understand their bodies. But when the hospital threatens to suspend Maya following a negative interaction with the chief financial officer’s wife, Maya decides to accept an unusual job as a concierge gynecologist at a boutique women’s medical practice. But more money and a flexible schedule with an exclusive clientele may not be the solution to Maya’s desire to truly help others . . . or herself.

A few of the many enjoyable moments of Sinha’s novel include a precocious 4-year-old who uses no euphemisms for body parts, car wash chaos, a crystal monument misplaced in a client’s nether regions and various other medical emergencies. Amid scenes capable of eliciting tears of joy, angst or frustration, Sinha incorporates questions of work-life balance, racial prejudice, gender inequality, cultural differences and female empowerment. She tackles each topic with a blend of sensitivity and straightforwardness that will leave readers entertained and more enlightened about female anatomy and the business side of medicine.

With a cheer-worthy protagonist, At Least You Have Your Health is a delicious dose of heartwarming characters and good humor.

Madi Sinha’s direct and diverting bedside manner gets straight to her thought-provoking points on women and work in her second novel.

Author Ann Patchett narrates her essay collection These Precious Days (11 hours) with a warm familiarity that inspires reflection.

Patchett adopts a conversational, easygoing style in these 22 personal essays, which include anecdotes about growing up in a blended family, decluttering her life and managing social expectations for women and couples, especially pertaining to having children. Amid this mosaic of moments, she also shares wisdom about her writing practice and thoughts on life and death. The common thread in this collection is the value of our experiences, and Patchett’s grounding and encouraging voice emphasizes that our imperfections have a unique place and perfection of their own.

These Precious Days is a mindful and life-affirming journey that is sure to inspire contemplation in writers and nonwriters alike. It’s especially recommended for readers who enjoyed Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.

Read our starred review of the print edition of ‘These Precious Days.’

Ann Patchett narrates her essay collection These Precious Days with a warm familiarity that inspires reflection.

In this often hilarious and consistently stirring performance, comedian, actor and all-around celebrity Jamie Foxx dishes on his toughest role: being a father. Throughout Act Like You Got Some Sense: And Other Things My Daughters Taught Me (6 hours), Foxx brings honesty and heart to touching stories about his childhood—growing up with an absent mother and being raised by a loving and unyielding grandmother—and shows how these experiences guided him when he became a parent. Foxx’s impersonations of family members are dynamic and animated, as are his exasperated (and sometimes expletive-filled) responses to the trials and tribulations of parenthood. 

In an equally candid and heartwarming foreword, Foxx’s eldest daughter, Corinne, affirms that, despite some unconventional parenting, her father always showed up for her and her sister, and always conveyed his love for his family. Throughout his rise to fame, Foxx’s continual efforts to stay grounded and live by the values instilled in him by his grandmother shine through in the raising of his daughters. 

This inspiring, raucous and entertaining listening experience brims with attitude and positivity about embracing parenthood and the ups and downs of life. 

In this often hilarious and consistently stirring performance, comedian, actor and all-around celebrity Jamie Foxx dishes on his toughest role: being a father.

In Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy (9.5 hours), author and narrator Nathaniel Philbrick retraces his adventure, beginning in the fall of 2018, to follow the trail of George Washington’s presidential excursions after his 1789 inauguration. Through observing the landscapes and towns he visits and interviewing the people he meets, Philbrick compares and contrasts our history with our present moment, and ponders the strengths and fragility of our nation. As he recounts his travels, including fond anecdotes of his dog, Dora, Philbrick examines who Washington was—as a man, a plantation owner dependent on the labor of enslaved people and a reluctant president facing complex social issues.

A natural storyteller, Philbrick switches seamlessly between Washington’s voice and his own personal reflections, revealing a profound respect for the country, its history and the lessons it imparts to us. His fascinating journey will appeal to travelers and historians, but his likable performance as an audiobook narrator will engage even those typically averse to historical narratives. Travels With George is as insightful and thought provoking as John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley.

Read our review of the print edition of ‘Travels With George.’

Tracing the trail of Washington’s presidential excursions, Nathaniel Philbrick reveals a profound respect for the country, its history and the lessons it imparts to us.

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Trending Features

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!